Union Jack

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Sonnet 67

Read by Claire Marchionne
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Gary Schmidgall notes that the underlying conceit of the sonnet derives from Petrarch, for whom hyperbolic praise is typical.  For most critics, this theme interacts with another theme, the corruption of the court.  This theme, which was prominent in the voguish satire of the 1590s.  As he would in Hamlet, Shakespeare draws on the language of abuse derived ultimately from Roman satirists such as Juvenal and Horace.

Ah! wherefore with infection should he live,
And with his presence grace impiety,Queen Elizabeth receiving ambassadors
That sin by him advantage should achieve,
And lace itself with his society? 
Why should false painting imitate his cheek,
And steel dead seeming of his living hue?
Why should poor beauty indirectly seek
Roses of shadow, since his rose is true?
Why should he live, now Nature bankrupt is,
Beggar'd of blood to blush through lively veins?
For she hath no exchequer now but his,
And proud of many, lives upon his gains.
  O! him she stores, to show what wealth she had
  In days long since, before these last so bad.

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